January when champions are made

After the 1 mile time trial

We’re now approaching the end of January. The Christmas present trainers are muddy and the new year resolution runners lacking in commitment have disappeared from our streets. January is the when champions are made. Ok, well Spring marathon runners at the very least.

This week has seen me continue on my comeback from injury clocking up a happy 12.7 miles running. I highly recommend kicking off the week with a Monday run, I know this isn’t exactly a ground shattering revelation but I honestly believe running early in the week is the key to ticking off your mileage target.

Embracing the unpredictable weather is in my mind also key to happy January running. I like to think of huge puddles as a fun obstacle and focus on the fact that in freezing cold weather you burn fat quicker; equalling me becoming a lighter faster runner on race day.

On Tuesday I ran with GoodGym Hackney, we were working with the brilliant charity Streetbank delivering flyers in the areas their members live. I had heard about Streetbank before and it was great to find out more about the work they do getting neighbours to help each other out by lending each other useful items or skill swapping. The run was incredibly enjoyable and again we had a huge turnout (I think the biggest Hackney GoodGym run). It is always great to meet other runners in my local area and because of the nature of GoodGym e.g. doing good in the local community the people who come along are always incredibly interesting.

Ade the GoodGym trainer also set us a purely running challenge to run a 1 mile circuit of London Fields. I was annoyingly busting to wee but I thought I would give it a decent go, after a few laps it was clear if I wanted to be the first to finish I would need to run faster than my body was physically up to. A 35 mile cycle on the Sunday and 4 runs in 5 days had taken its toll. Despite that I still was one of the first runners to finish recording a 6:28 mile. We will be running this lap again in 8 weeks, I will be in marathon training then and it would be great to bring that time down and go below the 6:12 mile I ran back in October.

On Friday morning I went running with my friend Clare and her dog Watson. Clare is a great running partner and I always enjoy our chats and Watson is just great fun in his never ending search for the biggest possible stick he can carry. I proceeded to go straight from my 4 and half mile run to my first personal training session with Ade (mentioned earlier).

On the way to the personal training, I smashed a PB on a 400 metre dash in London Fields, I love this Strava challenge it is on my way home and always motivates me to have a dash beating my PB. I was so delighted to get an 8th place on the all time challenge leader board jumping two places recording a 1.25 on the dash. I would urge everyone to get on Strava, it is great way to add a little excitement to even runs when you don’t feel at your best.

London Fields 400 metre dash

8th place on the all time leaderboard

8th place on the all time leaderboard

With hindsight running before a personal training session wasn’t my wisest decision. As well as leading the Hackney GoodGym group, Ade runs a personal training business called Fit City with a special focus on exploring the urban architecture of London through running. However this Friday we were in London Fields Fitness studios and Ade was putting me through my paces with a core and cardio workout. And boy did she make me sweat, Ade is tough but very fair and a real pleasure to train with. We did lots of different core exercises, lunges, boxing and some running, I enjoyed the session immensely.

The good news from the session is that my core isn’t too bad however there is room for improvement and I will be working with Ade in the coming weeks to strengthen this area up before starting my Edinburgh Marathon training at the start of February.

Ade also filmed my running and there has been massive improvements in my form, the arms are swinging better and feet are very close to striking straight underneath me. I will be working with Ade in the coming weeks to improve this. Any tips on running form are much appreciated, please comment below I honestly appreciate any help.

Next week I promise to do a blog on nutrition as a vegan, I have found that since switching from a vegetarian to a vegan diet last June my running and overall health as come on leaps and bounds. 

And remember we are half way through the Winter, keep finding pleasures in Winter running and before you know it Spring will be in the air along with those race PB’S. 

Thanks for popping by as always.

Damien x

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Blown away nearly 10K

ImageSo today we’re expecting a huge storm here in the UK and the media are drawing comparisons with the storm of 1987 that caused huge damage across the country. I was only 3 in 1987, so I can’t really remember the storm but I do remember going to my playgroup and a huge oak tree covering the path we used to walk up. Fingers crossed we don’t lose as many beautiful trees tonight.

But with the stormy and frankly quite grim weather just around the corner, I thought I would get out there this morning and bank some miles. Again I managed to get my layering combination all wrong choosing to wear my winter over layer jacket. I set off fairly quickly but by 18 minutes I was pissed off. I was overheated, I didn’t want to take the jacket off as wearing it around my waist would annoy me. I was breathing heavier than usual, I just wanted to cut my run short and come home. I so nearly stopped but I remember thinking, you don’t do that these days you’re in the best shape you have been in at least 7 years just get on with it.

So I ditched the jacket and suddenly things seemed better my body cooled down and I hit a lovely rhythm. I passed loads of runners today and everyone of them was smiling. Once I got over my little internal fit I was smiling too.

Running in the strong winds was really challenging but kind of fun. At one point I distinctly remember getting blown sideways. I was thinking well it is good conditioning. I know this probably means I have stepped into the territory of crazy runner but I am actually pretty comfortable with this.

Todays run was just under 6 miles and I recorded a decent average pace similar to that of my 10K race at Bushy Park last Sunday. My finish was strong and I felt I had a bit in the tank. I used the Compeed blister plaster today and it did a good job. It was only at the end I started to feel any pain from the blister. In total I have ran 15 miles this week my half marathon in only 5 weeks away now so I need to start throwing in some longer runs which will be a challenge.

Here are my splits from todays run:

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Complete training run:

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Running is definitely infectious. My friend Sean has just moved to Berlin and I lent him ‘Born to Run’ a few weeks ago. I was delighted earlier this week to receive a message from him saying he ran 10k in the morning and had a vegan lunch. It is pretty sad but my running has definitely inspired some of my good friends to start running again. It is a sad fact of life that as we get older our bodies metabolism slows down and we need to take better care of ourselves. I am delighted that lots of my friends are starting to rediscover exercising regularly as they did in the past.

On this note I am running the Greenwich 10K with two of my oldest friends from school John and Pete on 10th November. I am really looking forward to us all doing this together, our lives have gone in different directions but I care deeply about them both and I am excited we are going to be exercising together and I am sure we will grab a few well deserved pints afterwards.

Did you go running in the wind today? If so, how was it? Do you have any tips for running in windy conditions? Please leave comments and let me know how your training has been this week.